711.5890/1–3053: Telegram

No. 70
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China1


522. Eyes only—Principal Officer. You are requested to seek an appointment with President Chiang Kai-shek at his earliest convenience and make the following oral statement to him:

“President Eisenhower presently plans to announce in his State of Union message Feb 2 that he is issuing instructions that the Seventh Fleet no longer is to be charged with shielding the mainland of China. The Seventh Fleet, however, will continue under present orders to prevent attack from the Mainland on Formosa and the Pescadores. The President will also say that this order implies no aggressive intent on part of US. This action does not of itself represent any change in the policies of the U.S. Government concerning the extension of military and economic assistance to the Government of the Republic of China.”

Please confirm immediately by priority telegram the delivery of this statement.

In making the foregoing statement to President Chiang you should impress upon him the necessity of preventing any disclosure of the decision to revise the mission of the Seventh Fleet until after it has been publicly announced by President Eisenhower in the United States, as there could always until the last moment be a change of intention. In any conversation with President Chiang in connection with this matter you should carefully avoid any implication that the United States Government is inviting Chinese requests for increased military or economic assistance, or that this action represents any change in the mission of the MAAG and MSA.

  1. This telegram was apparently revised by Secretary Dulles; his name appears last in a series of drafters’ names listed on the telegram, but the source text does not indicate the nature of his revisions. (Dulles frequently made minor changes in telegrams during his first days as Secretary; usually they were merely to cut out excess verbiage.) By the time the telegram was sent, Dulles had departed for a visit to several European capitals; Deputy Under Secretary Matthews was Acting Secretary in his absence.